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Columbus expands protections to LGBT citizens

Posted at 10:06 PM, Sep 15, 2015

The all-Republican Columbus City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to expand its human rights ordinance protections to include gender identity and sexual orientation.

The vote comes after months of debate in Indiana about anti-discrimination protections for LGBT Hoosiers following the passage of the controversial religious freedom law this spring.

Chris Paulsen, campaign manager for the statewide pro-LGBT rights group Freedom Indiana, applauded the move.

"Tonight, after more than a decade of grassroots work and local debate, the Columbus City Council unanimously updated the state's oldest human rights ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity," Paulsen said. "This is a major win for gay and transgender Hoosiers in Columbus, but it's also a major boost for the effort to update Indiana's civil rights law to include sexual orientation and gender identity."

Columbus, the city where Governor Mike Pence grew up and which he represented in the U.S. House, is one of several across the state to expand or consider expanding protections for LGBT citizens.

A similar ordinance was scheduled to be debated by the city of Carmel's Finance and Rules Committee on Thursday.